The Real Thing (Faith No More album)

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The Real Thing
The Real Thing album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released June 20, 1989
Recorded December 1988–January 1989
Studio Studio D, Sausalito, California
Length 54:58
Faith No More chronology
Introduce Yourself
The Real Thing
Angel Dust
Alternative cover
Vinyl cover
Vinyl cover
Singles from The Real Thing
  1. "From Out of Nowhere"
    Released: August 30, 1989
  2. "Epic"
    Released: January 30, 1990
  3. "Falling to Pieces"
    Released: July 2, 1990
  4. "Surprise! You're Dead!"
    Released: 1990
  5. "Edge of the World"
    Released: 1991

The Real Thing is the third studio album by American rock band Faith No More, released on June 20, 1989 by Slash and Reprise Records. It was the first major release by the band not to feature vocalist Chuck Mosley. Instead, the album featured Mike Patton from the experimental/funk band Mr. Bungle. On this album, Faith No More continued to advance their sound range, combining thrash metal,[5] funk,[5] hip hop,[5] progressive rock,[5] synthpop,[6] carousel music,[5] and hard rock,[6][7][8] along with what has been described as "a black sense of humor".[6]


Faith No More underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, We Care a Lot, released in 1985 and distributed through San Francisco-based label Mordam Records. On the original vinyl release, the band is credited as "Faith. No More" on the album's liner notes, back cover, and on the record itself. Within a year the band signed up with Slash Records. The debut album's title track "We Care a Lot" was later rerecorded, for their follow-up album Introduce Yourself in 1987, and released as their first single. Membership remained stable until vocalist Chuck Mosley was replaced by Mike Patton in 1988.[9]


The writing for the majority of the music for The Real Thing took place after the tour for Introduce Yourself. A demo version of "The Morning After", under the moniker "New Improved Song", with alternate lyrics written and sung by Chuck Mosley was released on the Sounds·Waves 2 extended play with the Sounds magazine. "Surprise! You're Dead!" was composed by Jim Martin[10] in the 1970s, while he was guitarist for Agents of Misfortune who also featured Cliff Burton in the line up.[11] The recording of the song took place in December 1988 following Chuck Mosley's removal from the band and was completed prior to the hiring of Mike Patton, who then wrote all the lyrics for the songs and recorded them the following month over the music.[12]

The recording sessions also yielded several songs that did not appear on the album. Two of them, "The Grade" and "The Cowboy Song", later appeared on the singles and on the UK edition of Live at the Brixton Academy. A third song, "Sweet Emotion", was later rerecorded with different lyrics as "The Perfect Crime" for the soundtrack to the film that also starred a cameo appearance from guitarist Jim Martin, Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey. The original version was released on Flexible Fiend 3 with Kerrang! magazine issue 258 and, more recently The Very Best Definitive Ultimate Greatest Hits Collection, the greatest hits compilation released to coincide with the band's reunion tour.


After the release of the album, Faith No More developed somewhat of a rivalry with fellow Californian funk rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers, whom they had previously played with on The Uplift Mofo Party Tour.[13][14] Singer Anthony Kiedis accused Mike Patton of stealing his "style" in the "Epic" music video.[14][15] He told Kerrang! magazine "My drummer says he's gonna kidnap [Patton], shave his hair off and cut off one of his feet, just so he'll be forced to find a style of his own".[14] In a separate interview, he clarified his comment, remarking "I love The Real Thing, and I liked his vocals on that record. I mean, when I heard the record I noticed subtle similarities, but when I saw that video it was like, 'Wait a second here, what the fuck?.'"[15] Roddy Bottum responded by saying "To me, our band sounds nothing like Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you're talking about long hair, rapping with his shirt off, then yeah, I can see similarities. But beyond that, I can't see any. I haven't talked to them since this whole thing started. We're really good friends with that band and I'd like to think they're doing It ... like as a favour".[16] Mike Patton finally addressed the allegations from Kiedis in 1990, commenting that "It just kind of came out of the blue. It doesn't bother me a bit. I got a real big kick out of it to tell you the truth. I mean, if he's gonna talk about me in interviews, that's fine - it's free press! Either he's feeling inadequate or old or I don't know, but I have no reason to talk shit about him."[17] Later in 2001, Patton also theorized that "I think Anthony, deep down, feels like I'm a better dancer than he is. I think I shake my booty just a little bit fresher than he does. And if he would stop doing drugs I think he could outdance me. Maybe one day we'll have a breakoff, just breakdance."[18]

Touring and support

Crowds gathered to a performance of Faith No More at the Parkpop festival, June 24, 1990.


The tour in support of The Real Thing was the first Faith No More tour conducted with Mike Patton. The band had begun to be marketed as "alternative metal" by the media after the album's release, and they were now primarily playing with bands from the heavy metal genre, along with other metal-influenced punk/alternative bands.[19][20] Notable artists Faith No More performed with during the touring cycle include Metallica, Billy Idol, Soundgarden, Voivod, Sacred Reich, Forbidden, Primus, Babes in Toyland and Poison.[21] They managed to attract controversy for mocking the party/sex-filled lifestyles of glam metal tourmates such as Poison at several shows in Europe during 1990.[22] The second show of the tour was filmed for the music video to "From out of Nowhere" in the I-Beam nightclub. During the show, Patton had a beer bottle smashed over his right hand, causing lacerations to some tendons.[23] He regained use of his hand after it healed, but he no longer has feeling in it.[24]


The first single to be released from the album was "From Out of Nowhere" on August 30, 1989 which failed to make the UK Singles Chart. It was re-released in April 2, 1990 and made number twenty-three on the UK Singles Chart.[25] In between these releases was "Epic" on January 30, 1990, the music video for which received extensive airplay on MTV throughout the year, despite provoking anger from animal rights activists for a slow motion shot of a fish flopping out of water.[7][26] "Falling to Pieces" then saw release on July 2, 1990 and made it to number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 before the reissue of "Epic", which became the band's first number one hit single, on the ARIA Charts,[27] as well their only top ten single on the Billboard Hot 100, where it reached ninth position.[28]

"Surprise! You're Dead!" had a music video produced for it, directed by bassist Billy Gould, featuring footage shot in Chile during a South American tour in 1991. However, the song never saw release as an official single, and the video was not released until its appearance on Video Croissant. "Edge of the World" saw limited release as a two track promo single in Brazil on CD and 12" vinyl, with the album version as track one and the Brixton Academy live version as the second track, in a yellow slipcase with basic black text.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[29]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[30]
Entertainment Weekly A[31]
Pitchfork 7.6/10[3]
Q 4/5 stars[32]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[33]
The Village Voice B−[34]

The Real Thing is one of Faith No More's most successful albums to date. It is now considered a classic metal album by fans and critics alike. Although released in mid-1989, The Real Thing did not enter the Billboard 200 until February 1990,[35] after the release of the second single from the album, "Epic". The album eventually peaked at number eleven on the chart in October 1990,[36] following the reissue of "Epic" almost a year and half after the initial release of the album. It was eventually certified platinum in U.S.[37] and Canada[38] as well as being certified Silver in the United Kingdom.[39]

In 2015, Korn vocalist Jonathan Davis stated "My favorite Faith No More record is The Real Thing. That's when Mike Patton took over. That's the one. [Although] I do like We Care a Lot. We got a lot of our influences from The Real Thing. It showed everybody you could do heavy music and not be "metal". It was something completely different." [40] James "Munky" Shaffer, one of Korn's guitarists, also praised the album, recalling "Fieldy and I were big Faith No More fans. In the late 80s they were playing a kind of funk rock; so were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but we tended to lean more towards the minor progressions. When Patton joined in '89 they dropped a single called "From Out of Nowhere" and we were sold all the way. At that point we became real fanatics – started researching the guy and going up to San Francisco to see them play. Every song on this record was super inspiring to us. The song structures and Patton's sense of melody – it was alternative metal at its best."[41] In 2017, Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan named it as one of the albums that changed his life.[42]


"Epic" was ranked number thirty on VH1's 40 Greatest Metal Songs,[43] and number sixty-seven on their 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders list.[44]

Compilation appearances

Many of the songs from The Real Thing have appeared on Faith No More compilation releases. The opening three tracks have appeared on every video and compilation album released by the band, except for Epic and Other Hits, which lacks "From Out of Nowhere".

Soundtrack appearances



The Real Thing was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance category in 1989 and "Epic" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1991.


Year Publication Country Accolade Rank Ref.
1989 Kerrang! United Kingdom "Albums of the Year" 1 [49]
1989 Sounds United Kingdom "Albums of the Year" 20 [50]
1989 Village Voice United States "Albums of the Year" 27 [51]
1998 Kerrang! United Kingdom "Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" 50 [52]
2001 Classic Rock United Kingdom "100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever" 64 [53]
2005 Rolling Stone Germany "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" 105 [54]
2005 Robert Dimery United States 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die * [55]
2006 Classic Rock & Metal Hammer United Kingdom "The 200 Greatest Albums of the 80s" * [56]

Track listing

All lyrics are written by Mike Patton, except where noted.

No. Title Lyrics Music Length
1. "From Out of Nowhere"   Gould, Bottum 3:22
2. "Epic"   Gould, Bottum, Martin, Bordin 4:53
3. "Falling to Pieces"   Gould, Bottum, Martin 5:15
4. "Surprise! You're Dead!" Patton, Martin Martin 2:27
5. "Zombie Eaters"   Gould, Bottum, Martin, Bordin 5:58
6. "The Real Thing" Patton, Gould Gould, Bottum 8:13
7. "Underwater Love"   Gould, Bottum 3:51
8. "The Morning After"   Gould, Bottum, Martin 3:43
9. "Woodpecker from Mars" (instrumental) Martin, Bordin 5:40
10. "War Pigs" Geezer Butler Butler, Iommi, Osbourne, Ward 7:45
11. "Edge of the World"   Gould, Bottum, Bordin 4:10
Total length: 54:58



  • Matt Wallace – producer, engineer
  • Jim "Watts" Vereecke – assistant engineer
  • Craig Doubet – assistant engineer
  • John Golden – mastering
  • Lendon Flanagon – photography
  • Jeff Price – artwork
  • Terry Robertson – CD design


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[58] Platinum 1,000,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[59] Gold 100,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Chart performance


Chart Peak Ref.
Australian Album Charts 2 [27]
United States Billboard 200 11 [28]
UK Albums Chart 30 [25]
Swedish Album Charts 38 [60]
New Zealand RIANZ Album Chart 38 [61]

Year end

Chart Peak Ref.
United States Billboard 200 41 [62]


Year Title Peak chart positions
US Main US Mod AUS
1989 "From Out of Nowhere" 83 23 -
1990 "Epic" 9 25 2 1 25 2
"Falling to Pieces" 92 40 12 26 41 16
"—" denotes singles that were released but did not chart.


Year end

Year Title Peak chart positions
The Billboard Hot 100[64]
1990 "Epic" 75


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External links

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